Prior to actually having a baby, I had a very vague idea of what “being a mom” would be like. That might even be an overstatement.
I had dogs. Well I had a dog, who was the second dog I have had. I knew what it was like to have them. I knew what it was like to watch the first one inexplicably get very sick and die in the span of a week, after spending the whole 5 years I had him saying to myself “I just don’t know what I would do if anything ever happened to him”. I knew what it was to love him so much that when it came down to it, I just didn’t want him to suffer, and I didn’t want him to die alone. So I made the decision to euthanize him. I knew what it was to feel like I lost a limb, a part of my own self, when he went away.
So I thought I knew what it would be to love a child. I loved my dogs like people love their children, I thought.
Then I got pregnant, and spent the whole time sure something terrible would happen. Sure I’d lose the baby, they’d get hurt, they were never really there to begin with. I think I was scared to love something that much.
And then he was here. His birth was not what I had hoped for, but we both came through just fine. Then I stared at him, felt his tiny little fingers wrapped around mine, and the world just stopped.
I still love my dog. I love when he curls up around my legs at night, and when he comes in close for some mama snuggles after the baby goes to sleep. But I honestly don’t really worry about him the same way, don’t prioritize him the same way. I thought for sure I’d never be that pet owner that gets annoyed at the dog after the baby comes. But…sometimes I am.
But in general, I find myself being a much more relaxed parent than I thought I’d be. I’m happier than I thought I’d be. It’s still hard to picture what I’ll be like in a few years, or with more than one child, or what our lives will be like when this dog is no longer in them. I’m seeing the folly in trying to predict what the future holds for us, and working, ever working, on just living in the present.